A diverse crowd of religious leaders, public officials, representatives of various Japan-Hawaii organizations, and other peace builders gathered under trees along Nuuanu Stream on August 7, 2017 for the 28th annual Hiroshima Commemoration and Peace Service. The event was hosted at Hiroshima Peace Bell by the Izumo Taishakyo Mission with substantial participation of the YMCA.
Dignitaries in attendance included the Consul General of Japan, Yasushi Misawa, and Mrs. Yoko Misawa; State Senator Karl Rhoads; and City Councilmembers Carol Fukunaga and Ann Kobayashi. Mr. Edwin Hawkins, director of the Office of Economic Development for the City & County of Honolulu represented Mayor Kirk Caldwell.
Following a Shinto blessing, speakers offered perspectives from the Buddhist, Christian, and Jewish traditions. Bishop Eric Matsumoto of Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii represented the Buddhist community by sharing a message in which he quoted His Eminence Kojun Ohtani from his book, Moving Forward Just As You Are, Living in These Uncertain Times, emphasizing interdependence as the key to world peace.
Speakers also included Hiromi Peterson, a retired Punahou Japanese teacher and second generation atomic bomb survivor, a YMCA youth representative who spoke of his time in Hiroshima, and event committee co-chair Ray Tsuchiyama.
Musical elements of the program included a rendition of “Ave Maria” by Rev. Takamasa Yamamura of Honolulu Myohoji Buddhist Temple and the singing of “Let There Be Peace on Earth” led by the Interfaith Peacemakers.
Following the service, all had the opportunity to ring the Peace Bell. Draped near the bell were origami cranes presented by Japanese youth as well as cranes provided by Hawaii Betsuin’s Norman Hirohata-Goto, carried previously by Pacific Buddhist Academy students in Martin Luther King Jr. Parades.
Photos by David Atcheson.